Can a cheat day help me lose weight? I heard that if I plateau I can cheat on good carbs and it might put me back in the game? What should I eat when I cheat? How often should I cheat?
Don't ever 'plan' to cheat, you're only cheating on yourself and sabotaging your health and weight loss. This especially applies if you are trying to go into ketosis – it can take up to 2 weeks for someone to get there, and one cheat can throw you out for another week. The more insulin resistant you are, the less you should cheat. Fat-burning and fat adaption are important and cheating won't achieve that.
However, human beings aren't perfect and will cheat from time to time, so having said don't cheat – if you must, the best way to do this would be by including something from the orange list. Ideally the cheats would be few and far between, and if you do cheat, don't throw in the towel, carry on immediately and return to the state of euphoric banting you have left.
So if you do cheat then, maybe some sugar-free ice-cream or a big sweet potato at dinner.
Absolute no-no's are sugary foods, grains and anything fried in polyunsaturated oils.
Eating these foods is not ideal at all!. So choose your cheat very carefully, and try to keep it to a minimum if you must cheat.
And yes, it's true – sometimes having a day where you include several carbs in the form of sweet potatoes and other orange-listed foods – could well push you off the plateau and back into fat-burning mode. This is because your glycogen stores may have been too low for too long, and just that one day of indulgence can replenish those stores, and somehow get the weight loss going again.
A regular cheat day would be something you could include if you are near your goal-weight, not particularly insulin resistant, quite strong willed (so it doesn't push you into a downward carb spiral) and you can handle it. The only way to know how a cheat day will affect you is to try it, monitor yourself and see what happens. Different things work for different people. It's recommended that you try not to cheat though for the first 3 months. This will get your body into a great fat-adapted state, cure you of all your cravings, and also allow a great deal of repair of your body in many ways. Then, cheating once won't really affect it – but cheating regularly may well put the brakes on any benefits you might have gleaned otherwise.
Never cheat on grains though, you will feel bloated and foggy-brained sometimes for up to 5 days. Sugar will perhaps give you quite a headache the next day, so pick your cheats preferably from the orange list, and preferably from the tuberous or higher carb vegetables.